Conference Realignment: Here we go again

A few years ago the Big Ten conference shook the college sports world by announcing they were considering expanding their membership.  Rumors were flying around they were looking into going to add up to 9 schools to get to 20 members. They settled at just adding one university, but the dominoes haven't stopped since.

The Big Ten conference started all of the conference realignment, and just when we thought all was done and we could move on with our lives, the Big Ten is at it again.  Rumors have it that they are in negotiations with Maryland of the ACC and Rutgers of the Big East about joining.

These are not big name schools by no means, but the repercussions of this rumor is going to be huge in the college sports landscape.

All realignment moves are for one of the following reasons.  They are either doing it for the money or for survival.

The Big Ten originally added Nebraska for the brand name and the lucrative conference championship game.  Plus this added inventory to their already money making Big Ten Network.  Nebraska was looking for a way out cause they felt Texas ran the conference.  This was a move made in heaven.

The Pac-10 didn't want to be left behind so they grabbed Colorado who was begging to get out from underneath Texas as well and Utah so they could get into the Denver/Salt Lake markets.  More markets, new network = more money.

This ticked off BYU so they left the Mountain West Conference to go independent in football.

This is when a crazy chain of events happened, and very fast.  Boise St. leaves the WAC for the MWC.  BYU decides to join the WAC for all sports except for football, but in retaliation the MWC takes Fresno St, Nevada, and Hawaii from the WAC causing BYU to change their plans.  The WAC has to have Texas St. and Texas-San Antonio jump up to FBS ranks.

The following year things got even more crazy.  Texas A&M couldn't stand being the red headed step-sister of Texas anymore so they ask to join the powerful SEC.  Months of legal issues later A&M joins the SEC followed by Missouri.

Once again, the SEC couldn't pass this up as it got them into Texas and the St.Louis/Kansas City market as they are wanting to start their own network.

TCU accepts an invite from the Big East but later pulls out and joins the Big 12.  Syracuse and Pittsburgh jump to the ACC causing the Big East to panic.  Then West Virginia bails for the Big 12 but not before them and the Big East sue each other.

Completely bent over the Big East had no choice but to add tons of school to redo their image.  Here comes Boise St and San Diego St for football only (makes so much sense for them to be in the Big East).  Houston, SMU and UCF are joining for all sports.  Temple joined this year to replace West Virginia.  Navy is joining as a football only in 2015.

The MWC then took Utah St and San Jose St from the WAC.  Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Florida International are joining C-USA.  Charlotte and Old Dominion are stepping up to the big boy ranks in the CUSA.

The WAC will no longer sponsor football leaving Idaho and New Mexico St without a home for football.

Notre Dame not to be left out left the Big East and is going to join the ACC in all sports except for football.

And now Maryland and Rutgers are rumored to be joining the Big Ten.

For the Big Ten this is all about getting into new markets and adding inventory.  But once again if this comes to fruition more chips will fall and will fall fast.  Someone will have to replace each of those schools in their respective conferences.  And then those conferences will have to replace their respective teams and so forth.

We've already lost the WAC as we know it, could we possibly lose another conference in all of this mess?  Could some schools back out of their agreement with the Big East and re-join their old conferences?  Will we see two conferences merge into one just to stay alive?

What always seems like a good move for a conference will always have a negative impact elsewhere.  We've seen conferences such as the Mountain West rise up and challenge the "big boy" conferences just to watch them tear it down.

Even with no-name schools like Maryland and Rutgers possibly joining the Big Ten, I think this one might be the biggest of them all.  The next 12 months are going to be crazy as conferences try getting settled in for the new BCS contracts that begin in a couple of years.

Expect the unexpected, as I'm pretty sure your going to see one of the big conferences adding someone that makes you scratch your head.  Even more than Boise St and San Diego St going east and West Virginia joining a Texas-based conference.  \

Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show that all of these money hungry universities are about to put on!


Melvin MOY

Bob Melvin Wins AL Manager of the Year

Receiving 16 of the 28 first place votes, the Oakland A's skipper took home the trophy for AL Manager of the Year. This was the only possible outcome in my opinion. Not to take away from the job that Buck Showalter did, but Melvin won the toughest division in baseball this year with a very miniscule payroll and a roster loaded with rookies.
Not only did Melvin deal with the no name roster into a AL West powerhouse, he dealt with some major blows along the road. Spring training started with the loss of Scott Sizemore for the season, and sent the team scrambling for an option at third. They went with Donaldson and Sogard, some relative unknowns that figured to be minor leaguers coming into spring training. Barton and Kia'ahue were to split the duties at first base and Kurt Suzuki was coming off his worst year as a pro offensively. The team started out with a very rough record, and a less than potent lineup, but Melvin kept the players going and they eventually turned it around in the late part of June after being nine games below .500.
With the addition of Brandon Inge, Brandon Moss, Stephen Drew, and the emergence of Reddick, Cespedes, Cook, Parker, and Milone, the A's and Melvin took off. They turned around the season in a hurry during the last four months of the season. Melvin managed two platoon situations and kept both players happy in both situations. Gomes and Smith worked well as the DH platoon, and Carter and Moss worked out as well. Also, he dealt with the Colon suspension right after Bartolo had started pitching his best all year. Another blow towards the end of the year was dealt to Brandon McCarthy with a line drive to the head that knocked him out for the rest of the season. The A's also did without Dallas Braden who was figured to be back in play before the All-Star break at the least, but ended up having another season ending surgery.
With 5 rookie pitchers at the end of the year, in Straily, Parker, Milone, Blackley, and Griffin they managed to sweep the Texas Rangers in a three game set for the division. For me, that all but locked up the award for Melvin. I look for him to do more of the same next year, and hopefully he's a repeat recipient.


Raiders Lose 42-32

Raiders Comeback Falls Short

In what I thought would be a fairly easy game for the Raiders to win at home, they showed me once again that I still have no idea what kind of team they are 8 games into the season.
The game started well enough with the Raiders shutting down the Bucs first drive after punting themselves. They then got the ball back and drove down for a quick field goal by Janikowski to give themselves a 3-0 lead.
Tampa was quick to respond, and on 3&15 from their own 15. Freeman connected with Vincent Jackson for a 64 yard toss. Another 20 yarder to Jackson a few plays later put the Buccaneers on top 7-3. Good news is, the Raiders came back and got the lead 10-7. Bad news, Doug Martin.

After halftime, one Doug Martin took over the game. He put up 3 runs over 40 yards for TD's in the second half and helped the Bucs pull away. On the day, Martin had 251 yards and 4 touchdowns with a few receptions sprinkled in for good measure. The product of Oakland had a homecoming party in a big way.

Oakland made it interesting late bringing it to within a 3 point game, and even had the ball with 2:43 left in the 4th quarter on their own 40 yard line. Only to have Carson Palmer unravel after throwing over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns. He threw interceptions on consecutive drives to end any chance of a comeback.

This was an ugly game, but the Raiders keep hanging tough and stay in games. I don't know what to expect from them anymore. One week they look like an upper level team and then the next they look like they don't know what defense or offense is. Another frustrating year is underway for sure. Don't look for relief anytime soon either Raiders fans, the schedule only gets tougher from here on out. Pains me to say this, but I think the cream of the AFC West crop is the Denver Broncos this year... Now I'm going to go promptly remove my fingers after typing that.

By Bill Montoya


March Can't Come Soon Enough...

March Can't Come Soon Enough...

I'm sitting here watching my Warriors beat the LA Clippers 91-83 late in the 4th quarter, and all I can think about is how bad I miss baseball already. It's been little over a week since the San Francisco Giants claimed the World Series trophy over Detroit in what was probably the least dramatic World Series that I have ever seen. I still have that sick feeling in my gut that the best AL team was sitting at home watching their Bay Area counterparts wrap up the trophy in Detroit.
Don't get me wrong, I still love basketball. But, baseball will always be my favorite. And after a season like the Athletics had, I can never get enough of good baseball being played by my team!
by Bill Montoya

Bartolo Colon Rejoins A's for 2013 Season

Colon Awarded with $3 Million Contract

In a confusing move, Billy Beane decided to bring back Bartolo Colon for the 2013 season. He cited the "added depth" as the major reason for doing so. My only concern is the dollar amount. Not only did Bartolo only make $2 million last year, he was also suspended for doping. So, on top of an increased salary with added  incentive based progressions, the A's are risking a lot in my opinion.
For me, this seems like a big risk. He gets paid more than he did last year, and he doesn't have the benefit of the testosterone he was taking. I mean, he posted a 10-9 line with a 3.43 ERA on PED's what are the chances he performs even up to that level sans the juice? Not likely. Seems like a doomed deal from the start. Another negative to this deal is that it decreases the possibility of bringing back a Brandon McCarthy or getting an equivalent player on the open market.
In a statement made to the press, the A's assured the fans that this move will not jeopardize the re-signing of McCarthy, but I have my doubts. Especially with teams such as the Cubs reportedly interested. McCarthy says all the right things; like he wants to be back and that he appreciates the Oakland fans and family, but at the end of the day if the money is better elsewhere that's usually where athletes end up.

by Bill Montoya